Boston Bruins

Brandon Carlo, Patrice Bergeron and Craig Smith of the Boston Bruins warm-up prior to the 'NHL Outdoors At Lake Tahoe' game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort on February 21, 2021 in Stateline, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A one-game trip to Lake Tahoe for a breathtaking outdoor game came with more than a blowout win over the Flyers for the Bruins.

It was also the site of what Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo considers the biggest honor of his not just his 313-game NHL career, but his entire life.

With the Bruins down alternate captain David Krejci, and without veteran defenseman Kevan Miller as well, it was Carlo who found himself wearing Boston’s second ‘A’ along with Brad Marchand.

“That was amazing,” Carlo said Tuesday. “That was probably the biggest honor of my life to walk in the locker room [Sunday] and see the ‘A’ on my sweater.

“It means so much to me that this group, management, and everyone can trust me to take on that responsibility,” Carlo admitted. “It definitely warmed my heart and gave me an extra boost of confidence knowing that I’m contributing to this team in a leadership aspect.”

This was Carlo’s first time wearing a letter on his sweater since turning pro, and overall, with his last ‘A’ coming as a Tri-City American back in 2015-16.

And it was the natural next step for Carlo, who also serves as the team’s NHLPA rep, especially when you consider who he had played with in the past, as a regular partner of both Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug before driving his own pairing this season.

“You want guys to grow from within and develop those leadership skills,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Carlo. “Some of them have it naturally. Others need to be around other people and see how it’s done. We feel like Brandon’s one of those guys and has earned it. He’s young but he’s been in the league and he conducts himself as a true pro very well. I think the guys all look up to him.”

Down at least three regulars on the backend, and with a Thursday night head-to-head with the Islanders on deck, the Bruins will continue to lean on Carlo, with or without the ‘A’ on his sweater.